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Common Habits That Make Your Visceral Fat Risk Soar

Four ways that increase your risk of getting visceral fat, according to experts.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Visceral fat is hidden deep within your abdominal and it's wrapped around your vital organs, which can cause serious health problems. It's not the typical  fat that you can see or pinch. Even if you have a flat tummy, chances are you still have it. Certain poor lifestyle choices can greatly contribute visceral fat and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who revealed what common habits raise the risk of getting visceral fat and why it's so dangerous. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Eating a Poor Diet of Sugar, Carbs and Saturated Fats

Man eating pizza having a takeaway at home relaxing resting

Dr. Anthony Puopolo, the Chief Medical Officer at RexMD says, "Abs are made in the kitchen. A popular phrase around those trying to enhance their musculature, the same goes for losing visceral fat–it happens in the kitchen. To understand how to lose visceral fat, we must first understand what causes it. The core causes of visceral fat gain are diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and high alcohol consumption. As far as diet, high amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, and saturated fats will contribute to visceral fat gain. If you are trying to lose visceral fat, shift your diet to focusing on fibers and lean proteins. Consider trying a Mediterranean diet, or even doing something like a Daniel fast (Vegan, without bread, sugar, or solid fats) for a month or two."


Sedentary Lifestyle

woman in glasses working with multiple electronic internet devices

Dr. Puopolo states, "For lifestyle, ensure you are getting a minimum of an hour of activity per day, at least 30 minutes of which is aerobic exercise. This simple practice, mixed with dietary changes can significantly contribute to fat loss. Even something as simple as a ten minute walk every hour can help your body metabolize more effectively."


Drinking Too Much Alcohol

alcoholic beverages

Nutrition Expert, Author, and Celebrity Chef Mareya Ibrahim explains, "Alcohol contributes to a glut of calories and storing of fat in the abdomen area (aka beer belly) as well as a diet that's excessive i  calories and heavy in sugar, starch and super fatty meats and saturated fat from factory-farmed animals that are not eating what they're supposed to, this causing inflammation."

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Poor Sleep and Stress Management

Young woman falling asleep in bed with drink in hand

According to Ibrahim, "The body naturally produces cortisol with stress which causes inflammation.  We manage stress with lifestyle habits such as not getting enough sound sleep, holding stress in and not getting enough exercise burns the body and doesn't give it an outlet for release. Thus, the body becomes extra inflamed and this condition is exacerbated by a bad diet, drinking and the bad cycle that often ensues."

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Why Visceral Fat Dangerous

woman consulting with her female doctor

IIbrahim says, "It's thought that this type of fat can cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious diseases because it releases proteins and hormones that cause severe inflammation and narrows blood vessels, which constricts healthy blood flow and causes toxicity in the body."

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How to Tell if You Have Visceral Fat

Body fat analysis with electronic bioelectrical impedance scale at weight loss clinic.

"The only way to get an accurate measurement is through a CT scan or hydrostatic test where your total body fat is measured but you can get a good idea by taking a hip to waist measurement called WHR). Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. The World Health Organization suggests a healthy ratio being 0.85 or less for women and 0.9 or less for men," says IIbrahim.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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